21
Jul

Open champ and Man United fan Rory McIlroy booed by Liverpool locals

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Rory McIlroy dominated the Open Championship this past weekend, leading from start to finish en route to his third major golf championship of his career. But the 25-year-old did make one grave error: He took a moment during his acceptance speech to mention his allegiance to football club Manchester United.

The problem? The Open was held at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake. Whoops!

Needless to say, the Merseyside locals were none too pleased:

That’s a one-stroke penalty, Roy!

18
Jul

Nike Soccer launches new app, route into the professional arena

As the football world directs its attention to the domestic season after a successful 2014 World Cup, fans of all walks of life can now chat with friends, create matches and access exclusive Nike products all through the power of Nike Football’s new app.

Nike Football’s app allows users to create micro-communities with the “Crew” option, giving them the chance to play pick-up games with friends and teammates to improve their skills. In turn, users can also set up a time and location for their rendezvous with the “Play” section thanks to its geo-tracking technology that allows members to set up matches around the world.

Per Nike’s official press release:

“A player’s community will increase in size as they connect with players in their area. This enables them to find more games, more often, against new opponents. It’s the ultimate way to play more and play better,” said Davide Grasso, Chief Marketing Officer for Nike said in a statement. “The Nike Football app puts players behind-the-scenes with Nike and their heroes. The app will deliver premium content, access to limited product and events before any of our other channels.”

And the fun doesn’t stop there.

The new app will also be the only way to earn a place at the Nike Academy — the U.K. based academy for young players, based at St. George’s Park National Football Center — like previous academy players such as Tom Rogic (Australia), Abdul Waris and David Accam (both Ghana).

The Nike Football app is available now on iOS and Android.

(H/T Nike)

18
Jul

The top 5 social media moments of the World Cup

Yes, we know it’s already been almost a week since the final. So? We can’t get over it, okay?

5. Robin Van Persie’s diving header

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After RVP’s signature goal against Spain, we all should’ve known. This was going to be the World Cup of Goals. In fact, Brazil ended up equaling France ‘98 for the most goals ever at a singe World Cup, few as pretty and none as unique as the flying Dutchman’s.

4. Costa Rica, CONCACAF takes world by storm

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First the World Cup’s Cinderella beat Uruguay, then Italy. Then they sealed England’s elimination, and waltzed all the way to the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Mexico and the United States also did their qualifying region proud. (We’ll forget Honduras was there). CONQUERCAF, indeed!

3. Tim Howard’s goalkeeping performance for the ages

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America’s No. 1 made 15 saves against Belgium in the Round of 16, the most saves by a World Cup goalie since 1966. And though the USA didn’t advance, he did become the best internet meme of the World Cup, and that has to count for something.

2. Luis Suarez mistakes Giorgio Chiellini for chicken parmesan

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We don’t need to explain this one, do we? Heck, Suarez even inspired his own version of Pac-Man! Sometimes, some things are just so bad that they’re great.

1. Fuleco just can’t hide his excitement

Sorry, nothing could ever beat this. Fuleco has locked down the title of most outrageous World Cup mascot of all time.

16
Jul

Mike Magee stars in hilarious spoof of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

In this phenomenal short courtesy of KickTV and Major League Soccer, Chicago Fire forward Mike Magee channels his inner Ferris Bueller and decides to skip school — er, practice — and play hookie for a day.

The “trailer” to Mike Magee’s Day Off parodies many scenes from the classic 1980s flick “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” and features a loaded cast; LA Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez stars as Magee’s best friend; United States women’s national team star Sydney Leroux plays Magee’s girlfriend; Hope Solo is the jealous sister.

And that’s not all.

"World Champion" Judah Friedlander acts as Bueller’s uber-dull economics teacher (very convincingly, too), while Thierry Henry is a host at a French restaurant. Plus, MLS standouts Michael Bradley, Dwayne De Rosario and LA Galaxy coach Bruce Arena all make cameos as well.

The clip ends on the famous last line of the movie, with a slight tweak:

"Life moves pretty fast," Magee says. "If you don’t stop and watch a game once in a while, you might miss it.”

Brilliant!

H/T FTW

13
Jul

David Luiz receives heartwarming letter from little girl after Brazil’s loss to Germany

Following Brazil’s humiliating 7-1 defeat to Germany at Belo Horizonte last Wednesday, it would have been easy to lambaste the players for their dreadful effort and performance.

However, one little girl showed maturity beyond her years by sending a letter of support to captain on the night David Luiz:

Translation, via ESPNFC:

“Hi David Luiz, My name is Analuz. I saw all of the Brazil games in the World Cup and I liked it a lot watching you play. I think that you don’t need to be sad because you played well and did the best you could. You were a great captain. Life is like this, sometimes people lose and sometimes people win but people only need to be happy.

David Luiz, you are my champion.

Analuz Penna Reale”

David Luiz had a response for the girl:

“Many thanks Princess Ana Luz, loved your letter! And I thank all Brazilians for all the support! I’ll never give up my dreams, and I will always strive to give back all that love I receive!

God bless you all!”

The Brazilian players are unlikely to get over their embarrassing defeat for a while, but forgiveness will help.

(H/T: NESN)

Image provided by Reuters.

12
Jul

World Cup Day 24: Best tweets from Brazil vs. Netherlands

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Oh, the dreaded third-place playoff match.

Dismissed by many and craved by few, the “consolation final” actually took on more importance this time around. It offered Brazil a chance to pick up the remnants of their dignity which was so brutally smashed into pieces by Germany in Belo Horizonte. An opportunity to apply some balm and gauze to the nation’s wound, and finish the World Cup with their heads held high.

It wasn’t to be. Instead, the Netherlands poured gasoline on the fire, beating the hosts 3-0. Brazil’s second capitulation in a week’s time — the first time they’ve lost consecutive home matches since 1940 — seemed all but a forgone conclusion by thetime Thiago Silva took down Arjen Robben in the second minute for a Dutch penalty (Silva was more than lucky not to be sent off, though he probably would have preferred watching the rest from the locker room).

If you have schadenfreude or no heart and would like to recount Brazil’s latest disaster, here are the best tweets from Saturday’s third-place match:

2nd minute:  Robin van Persie converts the penalty; Brazil’s defense picks up where it left off on Tuesday:

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16th minute: David Luiz with a “clearing” header back into the center of the eighteen. Daley Blind is there. 2-0 to the “bad guys.”

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Look away Brazil fans! Some halftime stats:

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Second half: Brazil should be awarded a penalty after a clear foul on Oscar. Instead, Algerian referee Djamel Haimoudi shows Oscar a yellow card for diving! 

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FT: Georginio Wijnaldum scores a third for the Dutch in injury time. Shortly after the referee puts Brazil out of their World Cup misery:

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Hey, we’ve gotta use Arsenal jokes while we still can!

Images provided by Getty and Action.

12
Jul

Pope Francis, Benedict XVI will remain neutral in World Cup final

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With the World Cup final nearly upon us, supporters from the two teams that make up the fixture — Argentina and Germany — will be desperate for some divine intervention to see them to glory. Unfortunately, though, they won’t be able to call in any favors from two of the holiest men on the planet.

Pope Francis — who is Argentine — nor his predecessor, ex-German Pope Benedict XVI will be supporting their respective nations.

“Popes are above such things,” Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi said, via The Boston Globe. “They can only hope for the best team to win.”

Their decision to remain impartial may come as a shock to many, considering the first pontiff from Latin America is an avid soccer fan who roots for the Saints of San Lorenzo back in Buenos Aires. Since his election in March, Pope Francis has accumulated a growing collection of soccer jerseys tossed to him by fans at his public appearances.

Although neither is willing to side with either nation, the Pope is expected to catch the action, according to Roxana Alfieri, who worked with Pope Francis in Argentina.

“He will surely watch the match; I have no doubt about it,” Alfieri said. “He used to listen to San Lorenzo on the radio and enjoyed following all the big events on TV.”

(H/T NESN)

Photo provide by Getty Images. Information from The Associated Press was used in this post.

11
Jul

Brazil’s embarrassing World Cup exit provokes unexpected sympathy

Should old acquaintance be forgot? It was never going to be, but I hardly expected to be thinking of my friends from Copacabana so soon after landing back in England, and I certainly didn’t expect to be feeling so sorry for them.

The return home came just hours before the first semifinal and, like hundreds of millions of others across the planet, I watched incredulous as the team of the host nation, the greatest of all soccer nations, concede goals to Germany with a rapidity that would have been surprising in the NBA; let alone a sporting arena that had yielded just 1.25 goals per entire game in the previous round, as things became about as tight and tense as international soccer can get.

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After the magnificent Germans had eased off and started saving their energy for Sunday’s final, they stopped at seven, to which Brazil replied with a gesture that produced one in the closing seconds. I was watching in a riverside pub on the south-western fringes of London, slack-jawed like everyone around me, trying to think of precedents but being able to think only of the folks with whom I’d seen all the previous Brazil games.

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8
Jul

World Cup Diary: Tournament has been glorious but problems persist

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BELO HORIZONTE —

Good football, or a least a tournament with good narratives, will cover a multitude of sins. Barring something calamitous in the final week, the chaos that many had feared would characterize the World Cup has not come to pass and nor have the demonstrations against government corruption that dominated last year’s Confederations Cup.

Only Belo Horizonte, where Brazil will meet Germany in Tuesday’s semifinal, has really suffered, an overpass constructed as part of improvements in infrastructure for the World Cup collapsing onto a bus, killing two people and injuring several others. At the weekend, there were demonstrations at the offices of Construtora Cowan, the firm that built the overpass on Avenida Pedro 1, while others have visited the site of the collapse bearing placards that read, “This is the reality of the World Cup,” and “World Cup disaster: Put it on FIFA’s bill.”

Wrangles over that are ongoing. The area around the collapsed overpass has been shut off pending an investigation, with some alleging that short cuts were taken to get the structure in place in time for the World Cup. Local authorities have urged the judiciary to re-open the road in time for the semifinal to ease traffic pressure. “The work won’t be carried it in haste because of the World Cup,” said Colonel Alexandre Lucas Alves of the Civil Defense. “It can only be done when we can be sure there will be no more casualties.”

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Elsewhere, the main issues have been with the police’s habit of acting first and asking questions later. Early in the tournament, partygoers in the Rio de Janeiro district of Lapa were subjected to a baton charge and the indiscriminate use of pepper spray after spilling from bars into a pavement. Eyewitnesses said the mood was jovial and police waded in without warning.

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